The Riot: Monopoly 2 Recap

LTBR Award Recipients

Battle of the Night:  #1 Yunus vs Franchise |  #2 Tay Roc vs A.Ward 

Performer Of The Night: Franchise 

Judge Winners: | Snake Eyez | Di Da Hennyman | Ave | Franchise | Tay Roc |  Geechi Gotti

nderdog upsets: Di Da Hennyman | Snake Eyez | Franchise 

The Riot once again put on a successful event with the second edition of their Monopoly series, headlined by A.Ward & Tay Roc. It is a series that is now stapled into the culture for featuring big names, heavily promoted battles, and compelling style match-ups amongst all tiers. We did lose a few battles on the card, like Shotgun Suge/Kapo & Chef Trez/Billy Boondock. And salute to the battlers on the undercard that opened the night like  Salute to Kevin Parks, The Riot Staff, Geechi Gotti & The Ruin Your Day Team for a good production.

We had commentary by a contributor to The Riot in Larry2K and media member Dead azz Tawk. If im going to be honest, the commentary team sometimes appeared flat. It needed some of the energy & analysis in their dialogue to keep me engaged in the commentary for the entirety of the event. Some post-game interviews were pretty interesting, but overall, I think the commentary could use a bigger spark.  But nonetheless, the event had a great feel-good feeling towards it. Especially at the end when they presented Tay Roc with a lifetime achievement award for his career and a birthday cake to celebrate him. 

Introducing an interesting element to the event, each battle was sanctioned for betting on a Sportsbook platform called Wager Attack, heralding new excitement and engagement for fans. This innovative concept holds immense potential for the industry when it comes to gambling on battles, paving the way for growth and increased visibility. However, its success hinges on a heightened level of responsibility and professionalism that we did not entirely receive from all of the judges and this leaves a sour taste in the mouth of some fans. To ensure accurate and fair outcomes, a dedicated panel of judges should be dedicated to focusing on the battles, equipped with scorecards is essential, enabling thorough evaluation of each battle’s content. Moreover, incorporating remote judging could offer diverse perspectives and enhance the credibility of the judging process, acknowledging the differences in experiencing battles in-person versus from a viewer’s perspective at home. By championing integrity and accountability, initiatives like this have the power to propel battling. Any industry involved with sports betting only increases over time, and while we have some tools to try to make this subject artform into a sport, it starts with putting the proper people in those positions. 

DI Da Hennyman vs LI The Mayor

2☆ Rating Recapped by Justin Smolenski

First battle of the night was a matchup solely based around street content, Henny vs Mayor being set up for conversation of styles that match perfect. Starting out, the 1st round was the best example of this with both battlers putting up a pretty solid round. Henny started and while he was clearly delivering more smoothly just in terms of how his material was rapped, Mayor showed enough fight content wise to make the round close, albeit cutting his 1st awkwardly. I personally edged Henny in the 1st but it is the one 50/50 round of the battle.

As for the next 2, it was all about Hennyman. Very well rounded performance from him, not only did he bring the real talk and better pace that was expected, but he also angled well and clearly out punched Mayor. Victory got clearer and easier to call the final 2 rounds, as Mayor was clearly either under prepared or thrown off, with his 2nd and 3rd appearing to being freestyled and being extremely short rounds. Henny was getting a free win here regardless of his own material, but to have a good performance on top of it and get a cool 2-1/30 is how you add value to the look. Good showing from Henny as the winner of the opening battle.

Ave vs Don Marino

2.5☆ Rating Recapped by France

The stage was set for Don Marino and Ave. Marino, considered a significant underdog leading up to the battle, surprised audiences with an explosive first round. His delivery of punchlines was so potent that it matched Ave’s intensity and arguably eclipsed it. 

Marino’s early dominance saw him take the lead in the battle, defying preconceived notions and igniting a fervor of excitement among spectators. However, Ave, known for his resilience and adaptability, refused to be outshone. With a strategic approach and unwavering determination, Ave gradually turned the tide in his favor, bringing an even more powerful onslaught in the later rounds.

As the battle reached its climax, Marino began to falter despite his initial momentum, visibly running out of steam. Ave seized the opportunity to capitalize on his opponent’s fatigue, delivering a series of hard-hitting punches that sealed the deal for him to be the victor with the judges. With a unanimous decision from the judges, Ave leaves triumphant with a 2-1 victory.

Franchise vs Yunus

3.75☆ Rating Recapped by France


In the anticipated clash between Yunus and Franchise, both competitors entered the ring with fire and hunger. Franchise, setting the tone with a strong first round, delivered a barrage of punchlines that connected with the audience, albeit with a few misses. He set the bar in the first, it wasn’t the highest, but it was enough to challenge Yunus to step up his game, resulting in a competitive round where both contenders showcased their writing. Yunus responded with a good first round that connected with the crowd, but I thought Yunus fell just short of surpassing Franchise’s initial impact. Nonetheless, it was a competitive round.

However, Franchise truly stole the spotlight with an explosive second round that left a lasting impression on the battle. Franchise put on a level of performance that was reminiscent of his peak in 2019, Franchise soared to new heights, creating a significant gap between himself and Yunus. With a round that was arguably the highlight of the night and the defining round of the entire battle, Franchise asserted his absolute dominance, leaving little room for Yunus to close the growing divide. As the battle progressed, Franchise’s commanding performance earned him a decisive lead of 2-0 in the eyes of the judges, and in my own opinion as well. 

Franchise’s consistency shines through as he closes out the battle with a strong third round, showcasing his versatility and ability to maintain a high level of performance. His adaptability and commitment to delivering his best in a matchup with a lot of spotlight deserve endless commendation, marking this performance as one of his standout showings in recent memory. Franchise has been on a tear over the past year that has almost gone under the radar, from his dominating performances against Saynt and Arsonal on KOTD, His stellar performance against Hansel, some dope performances on Apex & now this judged win over Yunus, Franchise is returning back to form. He may be on the verge of having a second peak to match or exceed his first one. Be on the lookout for him being featured on more big cards.

Despite the pressure of the spotlight, Yunus demonstrates resilience and determination, delivering his most compelling round in the 3rd round of the battle. While he manages to secure a clear round, his efforts come a bit too late to shift the overall momentum in his favor. But Yunus has a dog in him; there is no quit in his game, but there wasn’t enough dog to get the win.The aftermath of this battle prompts reflection on Yunus. While this loss marks his second judged loss on The Riot (against an EFB member again), it sparks discussions and narratives surrounding his performance and potential. 

Some people may attribute his struggles to him being on the road, but I don’t think there is a large enough sample size to buy into the road/home games conception. Some may feel he struggles with aggression, and there may be some merit to it. But I’m more focused on momentum and his perceived ceiling within the competitive landscape. Yunus is an undeniable talent, and he might be the one to ascend to stardom. Still, the catch-22 is that because he is so unique, it inevitably draws out the best from his opponents, intensifying the pressure on Yunus to perform at his best in every battle and sliming his margin of error.

He stood in front of a career-high Hansel, a recent career-high from Franchise, and arguably, In my opinion, he stood in front of the best Ms. Hustle 3-round performance from her WOTY year. I have seen multiple instances where Yunus has been overpowered, almost as if someone who can project louder than him or present a round street content/real talk type of round nearly neutralizes him for a bit. It’s almost like a storm cloud obscures the sun’s rays of Yunus. The Cloud casts a shadow over Yunus skillset, dimming his abilities and preventing him from shining. Only by dispelling the storm or waiting for it to clear up can his talents emerge and illuminate again. But by then, it may be a little too late. It’s like there is a scouting report on how to beat Yunus, and it’s crucial for him to address them. I’m not sure if his firepower is enough to regain the room once he’s hit with one of those rounds. But the sky is still the limit for him; these are just the growing pains as he continues to develop. He still had the battle of the night and a good showing. Maybe this could all just the result of standing in front of a few career-high showings, but maybe there is a weakness being shown, and it could be something to monitor. 

Geechi Gotti vs Loso

2.75☆ Rating Recapped by Justin Smolenski

The co-main event for the night, Loso vs. Geechi, was another legacy match for Loso, on the 2nd half of his two-battle weekend vs. another top legend in Gotti. 1st round started on Loso, and his 1st vs. Geechi felt very similar to his 1st vs. Roc only days before. A round with some witty lines and standard quality, Loso started off okay but with a lack of energy and impactful punches that left the door open. Unlike his 1st vs. Roc, where he was matched with an elite level round, this time Loso was in a safer situation with a Gotti who was already in his freestyling bag about halfway into the 1st round. This 1st is a relatively light round all around, but Loso, at the very least, there was more effort shown and maybe a couple more jabs in a round that isn’t about who did better but just who gave you anything to work with. Light 1st, but Loso had a bit more, pretty obviously at that.

2nd round of the battle, Loso wrote uphill, and his 2nd is his best round of the fight. Similar to his 1st, it’s a lot of punch-heavy content with a bit of angling sprinkled in, but this time, it landed some haymakers and had a consistent energy and landing rate through his 2nd. This again felt similar to his 2nd vs. Roc, a level-up and better version of the 1st-round approach. Maybe the peak of his round, rapping about his upbringing in a single-mother household, let Loso get into more of a soulful bag and added an element of substance to the round as well. Geechi’s 2nd, in response, is a conflicted round, one where he freestyles his way to some better punches than his 1st, but also is even more sloppy and almost loses his spot multiple times through the round. What felt and sure looked like the most apparent round of the battle, Loso’s best round was the 2nd, and could be argued as a 2-0 lead.

The 3rd ends up as the closest round of the battle. Loso stays more angle-heavy but ends up with the lightest round of his 3, although not bad. Geechi’s 3rd, in contrast, is his best; while still freestyling, he was much smoother with the delivery, and by the 2nd half of his 2nd was building back-to-back momentum, which was missing from other portions of the battle. One can argue Loso won the battle 2-1 if not 30, but this was not to match the judged result as Gotti would go on to win the judge decision, three judges to 1. Seen as controversial with last-minute judge switches and 0 explanations behind the decision, the bizarreness behind how the battle was judged is one of the key examples of why many think Battle Rap and judging is something you can’t just half-heartedly throw together and is better not done than done unorganized. 

Snake Eyez vs Riggz

2.25☆ Rating Recapped by Justin Smolenski

Maybe the only flat-out grudge match of the card, Riggz vs Snake, added that hateful tension that adds pressure and excitement to the matchup. Starting on Snake, his 1st was your standard Snake Eyez round—aggression, real talk, maybe lack of haymaker production, but still a couple of solid lines. The door was open to take the 1st, but Riggz didn’t capitalize. With the advantage from the writing perspective, Riggz could’ve flexed his pen and showed a difference in content in a winnable round like this. But with his own lack of haymakers and hit-or-miss effect from line to line, the round had few jabs but overall left the 1st to be judged by whole gave a little bit of something as opposed to who was good or great. I had Snake taking the 1st round, and his 2nd was another step in the right direction.

Like many of his recent battles (K Walker, T-Top, etc.) Snake 2nd was his best round. A more formidable version of his 1st, Snake, ups the energy, content, and pace even more. Angling about Riggz having Snake’s old manager (s/o Tone Bro) and the difference in their career levels, this is when Snake’s best round and maybe overall the best of the battle. Riggz 2nd was also a step up from his 1st, still with a straight-up bar-for-bar approach. The 2nd is better quality-wise but may even have a little more separation, with Snake again taking this round. In many fans’ opinion, the consistency of his round stands out compared to some dry spots in Riggz material. 

In the final round of the battle, Snake 3rd is solid once again, somewhere between the quality of his 1st and 2nd. This round highlights Riggz’s best round of the battle, landing with some of his most impact of the battle and landing as consistently as he did in any round. If there’s any round to give Riggz, this was it, showcasing his writing advantage going into the battle. An overall okay battle, Snake walked away with the judged W in a struggle he showed a little bit more of an all around game compared to his opponent. 

Tay Roc vs A.Ward

3.25☆ Rating Recapped by Justin Smolenski

The main event of the night and the centerpiece of the card, the battle was not just a legacy plate for Ward but the end of an initial run of 2024 battles that could stamp Roc as having, by far and away, the best individual year so far in Battle Rap. The intensity was palpable as Roc, known for his chain punching, delivered a surprisingly light 1st round. It wasn’t a bad round, just one of his more regular in a run where he’s chain-punched effectively in nearly every battle. This seemed to open the door for Ward to steal the 1st. While Ward did have a decent 1st in to answer, his round appeared to leave a bit on the table, too. Both rounds didn’t have any real lack of effort or energy; it just seemed neither 1st content-wise was connecting at high levels. With a round almost void of haymakers, Ward’s “Threw Roc at me” religious bar was the peak of the round , and with a little bit more material in the punch count, Ward may have edged in the 1st.

The 2nd, like many battles on the card, is a step up for both battlers. Roc was still back-to-back punching, but this time, with more impact; he found himself landing some haymakers throughout, and while not a classic, Roc 2nd was a very consistent and efficient round, “fire on a horse like Rapidash” being one of the bars that got the most reaction this round (But yes we have heard the bar said to A.ward before) Ward opened his 2nd rebuttal, which was expected and was also done in his 1st, but these were a bit more explosive. His Pokémon rebuttal to the Rapidash bar was cold and set some early energy for another solid Ward round. Still punching, Ward also includes angling this time and shows more of an all-around bag, which was Ward’s style advantage going into the battle. In an upgraded version of the 1st round, it felt like Ward did a little more in terms of multiple battling elements and landed just a few more times and effectively through the round. I gave Ward the 2nd as well, but neither round in a thoroughly dominant fashion.

The 3rd is where Roc gets one back, with another not tremendous but good round to finish a clean and consistent 3 round showing. Unlike the previous rounds, Ward 3rd is a dry round with poorly executed angles that didn’t connect with the room or many watching. While the more tailored approach may have superseded the punches in other rounds, the 3rd is an example of still having to execute well or be liable to lose to a straight bar-for-bar approach. Roc took the 3rd and ended on a high note for the battle. It was a solid battle, but it felt like it left something on the table. This can be attributed to a high expectation for the struggle, but also the fact Roc was on his 8th battle in 4 months, and Ward was on his 5th, although having ample writing time for just this matchup. Roc would also go on to win the judged vote, which many fans gave pushback to, but in a less controversial situation than that of a Geechi vs Loso. Even though it was a bit disappointing, it was still a solid main event and a grand way for Roc to end this initial 2024 flurry of battles and another career-altering battle in which AWard was highly competitive. 

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